Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. Makes eleven cupcakes.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg (choose your favorite warm spice)
  • 6 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 plus two tablespoons low-fat milk or almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 cups vanilla buttercream icing
  • 1/4 cup good quality strawberry preserves
  • 1 tsp. pure almond extract
  • Sprinkles and homemade marshmallows, for decorating (optional)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350•F. Line cupcake pan with eleven liners; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, your warm spice of choice, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil, orange juice, milk and sugar.
  • Add the eggs to the large bowl, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three batches. Mix just until combined.
  • Divide batter evenly among liners. Fill each liner three-quarters of the way full.
  • During baking, rotate the pan once if needed.
  • Bake for fifteen to 20 minutes or done. The muffin tops will spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
  •  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.
  • Mix the almond extract and strawberry preserves into the buttercream icing. Use as little or much preserves as you want, provided the preserves are very thick.
  • Ice the cupcakes when completely cool and decorate with sprinkles and homemade marshmallows.